Ayurveda for Women: 6 Tips From an Expert

Lisa’s new book,   Sacred & Delicious  !

Lisa’s new book, Sacred & Delicious!

Ayurveda is often considered to be the sister science of yoga. A lot of hardcore yogis tend to incorporate some Ayurveda practices into their daily lives. It’s one of those things that I keep intending to learn more about, but each time that I start diving in I get so overwhelmed that I (almost immediately) give up. Ayurveda is like learning a new language. It’s a lot!

Thankfully I recently discovered Lisa Joy Mitchell through the glorious web that is the internet. Lisa is an absolute delight (and her full bio is at the bottom of this post if you want to read ALL about her), and recently released an Ayurveda cookbook called Sacred & Delicious. Sacred & Delicious is full of delicious recipes that demystify Ayurvedic principles. Also, the food is PRETTY DAMN GOOD.

Because Lisa is a literal angel, she not only gifted me her cookbook to try but let me send her a few questions about Ayurveda in the hopes of sharing her answers here. There were SO many things that I wanted to ask her about that, rather than trying to pick which topics you guys would be most interested in, I asked anybody interested to send in a few questions on instagram. Below are the six most-asked questions -so many moms were curious about sharing Ayurveda with their families! if there’s anything we missed, you can drop it at the bottom of the post.

Just like her book, Lisa’s responses were relatable, accessible, and SUPER informative. Her tip about ice-cold drinks blew my mind. Who knew?! I hope that you enjoy learning from her as much as I did. If you want to keep exploring, her book is wonderful. Enjoy!

1. I've never heard of Ayurveda before, what is it?

Ayurveda is the medical and wellness system of India that is at least 5,000 years old. It's a comprehensive approach to health care that includes pulse diagnosis (some followers may have experienced this with a Chinese medicine practitioner); dietary guidelines that are personalized for each patient; botanical medicines; panchakarma (a medically supervised detox and rejuvenation program -- which is why I'm in India now!); and finally, marma, which was the original form of chiropractic and system of pressure points.

 I'm a long-time foodie, so the focus of Sacred & Delicious is all about food--and it is the most important piece of Ayurveda insofar as a healthy diet is the foundation of ongoing good health.

2. What are some easy way to incorporate Ayurveda into an every day lifestyle? What changes will I notice?

There are so many easy ways to incorporate Ayurveda in your life, even before you start to learn some of language and unfamilar concepts. My first and most important advice is to protect your digestion, because undigested food rots in the gut (yuck) and forms a toxic sludge that blocks the body's channels and organs. This build-up of toxity is considered one of the main causes of chronic pain and many chronic illnesses. You can protect your digestion in a number of ways. Pick a few or all of these options and notice if you experience fewer stomach aches or headaches, less pain, and more energy.

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  • Eat freshly cooked food all or most of the time. Real food has higher prana, life force, which sustains life. Packaged, refined, and junk foods all tend to form toxins in the gut because they are old, contain chemical preservatives, and fillers.

  • Add some vegetarian or vegan meals to your menu a few times a week and you may find you're feeling lighter and more energetic.

  • Stop eating just before you're full and you'll notice it's way easier to digest your meal. No more stomach aches...unless you eat food that your body doesn't like.

  • Avoid heavy foods at night, such as beef and cheesy dishes, which tend to clog the digestion.

  • Avoid ice-cold drinks. The temperature inside the stomach is about 110 degrees. Pouring cold liquid in it dilutes and slows the digestive "fire," which is the Ayurvedic metaphor for the digestive process.

  • Favor cooked foods over raw, especially during cold months. And also if you suffer from certain conditions including chronic pain, indigestion, and anxiety.

  • Learn a few recipes made with cooked mung beans, which detoxify the colon, liver, kidneys, and lymph gland. This way when you do binge or splurge, you can do a quick detox the next day or two! You'll find two in Sacred & Delicious and more coming soon on my blog.

  • Save difficult converstions with loved ones or colleagues for any time other than meal time. It's best to avoid eating when anxious or stressed out.

  • Pause for at least a minute or two before you eat. Take a few deep breaths and get present. Look at your food before you dive in! And if you're a spiritual person, connect to spirit and offer a prayer of gratitude. It's amazing the difference this pause can make for your digestion.

3. Can you give us some quick and dirty tips based on Ayurveda for women's health?

Try these two home remedies for women's health issues: From Dr. Smita Naram, chairwoman of Ayushakti and a world-renowned Ayurvedic physician who specializes in women's health.

For chronc menstrual cramps: Mix these spices with a half glass of room-temperature water four times a day during the painful days of your period and once or twice a day on an ongoing basis. (Lisa Mitchell commentary: You may not like the taste of it, but it works better than OTC meds. You'll get used to it!)

For perimenopausal symptoms (hot flashes and bloating):

For women from the ages of 42 to 55 years old, Dr. Smita Naram recommends mixing the following formula with a half-glass room-temperature water

To avoid weight-gain common in menopause:

After the age of 55, eat a diet of 60 percent vegetables and fruit, 30 percent protein, and 10 percent carbs. Save carbs for nighttime to support healthy sleep.

4. I know that Ayurveda can be different for everyone based on your body. How do I know which type I am?

The only sure way to know your type (called prakruti) or your imbalances (vikruti) is to see a trained Ayurvedic practitioner. Ayurveda is practiced in most metropolitan areas across North America, Europe and Australia as well as India. You can find a trained American practitioner at these two web sites: Ayurveda Nama and AAPNA.

However, you can get an initial picture of how you need to manage your health if you can't find a practitioner near you. Try a type test at a web site such as Banya Botanicals. You'll also find lists of symptoms associated with each of the types when they are out of balance in Part 1 of my book, Sacred & Delicious, as well as the best foods for each type. I also offer a general food list that highlights a broad range of foods compatible with Ayurveda when you sign up for my blog.

5. How can busy people, like moms and business owners, prep their weeks to be Ayurveda friendly?

An Ayurveda friendly household is one where you plan to cook most nights or at least every other, with plans for bringing home fresh takeout on those nights when it's too crazy to cook.

Having a slow cooker or Instant Pot on hand are working moms' best friends. (If you already own a slow cooker and a pressure cooker that you're comfortable using, as I am, the Instant Pot isn't necessary or any more efficient, in my humble opinion.) So many soups and stews can be started in about 10 minutes before you leave the house or prepped the night before, especially when cooking with legumes. Plan for another 30 to 45 minutes when you get home to finish up a meal.

6. I have a lot of food allergies and sensitivities, will that impact my ability to incorporate Ayurveda into my lifestyle?

To your reader who has food allergies: welcome to the club! I also have food allergies and wrote the recipes in Sacred & Delicious with this in mind. I avoid gluten and dairy 100 percent now, as well as sesame and cayenne pepper. Such requirements will not limit your ability to incorporate Ayurveda into your life. A true Ayurvedic diet is always tailored to the individual. You may want to work with a local Ayurvedic practitioner who will know the various ways to bring your body into balance while keeping your food allergies in mind. I will be offering online menu planning and general mentoring about food choices starting in mid- to late February.



Lisa Joy Mitchell, a busy public relations consultant, was drawn to study Ayurvedic cooking in 1998, when chronic health problems began taking center stage in her fast-paced life. On her road to wellness, Mitchell changed her diet and began an informal study with Ayurvedic physicians Dr. Vasant Lad, Ed Danaher, and Dr. Alpana Bhatt in the US and Dr. Smita Naram in India. 

Mitchell is now a wellness mentor and cooking instructor based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She often works in partnership with her husband, Tom Mitchell, a chiropractic physician who practices Ayurvedic pulse assessment and herbal medicine. During the past decade, Mitchell has cooked for hundreds of participants in Ayurvedic clinics and meditation courses.

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